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Do our individual Alamy collections eventually reach a "critical mass" -- i.e. a point where adding more images will no longer increase income and may even trigger financial meltdown?

 

Any thoughts on this?

 

 

 

 

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You must surely also add to this  a "critical mass" aligned to the income required

If you only want a few pence per year the "critical mass" could be just 100 images ................ or am I missing something?

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You must surely also add to this  a "critical mass" aligned to the income required

If you only want a few pence per year the "critical mass" could be just 100 images ................ or am I missing something?

 

True, it's all relative -- i.e. everyone's situation is different. Personally, I find that my "required income" has been sliding steadily despite regularly adding images. Will this situation improve even if I keep adding new work (which I will do anyway since I still enjoy photography for its own sake)? I'm not so sure that it will. In fact, if I stopped uploading pictures altogether at this point, I'm not sure that my income would change significantly. Would a complete change in direction help? I'm not so certain about that either. Mysterious statistical forces -- which I don't pretend to understand -- seem to be at work here.

 

BTW, pence don't go very far on this side of the Atlantic. B)

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It is probably an economical rule of some kind. 

Every additional picture cannibalises income from the other pictures. 

That is unless there is no picture of that kind yet. 

Edited by hdh
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It is probably an economical rule of some kind. 

Every additional picture cannibalises income from the other pictures. 

That is unless there is no picture of that kind yet. 

 

Good analogy. Some truth to it methinks. Every new banana turns into a new banana peel that you can slip on.

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I wonder how many buyers use the NEW tab. So if you have a perfectly good banana image taken in 2010, would it just as likely sell as the banana you uploaded last week?

It may come down to how many relatively new images you have to replace the mouldering old ones in your port that can still sell once in awhile, but seldom do unless they are special or have little competition.

My sales are probably 90% of what I've uploaded in the last 3 years.

In effect, we may all be selling mostly from the recent years, in my case around 2000 images give or take.

 

I know for a fact that my newer images appear light years better developed than my early years ones. Software advances and my own learning curve makes a difference.

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In my experience, the answer is "no" as long as you keep increasing the number of different subjects you shoot. I too, have things that I shoot for pleasure only and will keep adding no matter what, but I make a concerted effort to keep broadening my collection.

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It is probably an economical rule of some kind. 

Every additional picture cannibalises income from the other pictures. 

That is unless there is no picture of that kind yet. 

 

Good analogy. Some truth to it methinks. Every new banana turns into a new banana peel that you can slip on.

 

methinks bananas have a best before date, digital pictures may not  :ph34r:  B)

 

I added today to the more than 11.000 Common Blackbird pictures - I do not think that this is really economically feasible, but as Brian says, I also shot these for pleasure not for economics. 

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I wonder how many buyers use the NEW tab. So if you have a perfectly good banana image taken in 2010, would it just as likely sell as the banana you uploaded last week?

It may come down to how many relatively new images you have to replace the mouldering old ones in your port that can still sell once in awhile, but seldom do unless they are special or have little competition.

My sales are probably 90% of what I've uploaded in the last 3 years.

In effect, we may all be selling mostly from the recent years, in my case around 2000 images give or take.

 

I know for a fact that my newer images appear light years better developed than my early years ones. Software advances and my own learning curve makes a difference.

 

I noticed some of my own old bananas slip or tumble.

Even while my ranking has remained strong so far.

It may be useful to check if your old (but previously good selling) banana in the shop display is still in full sight of the customer.

;-)

 

wim

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Playing the quantity game will quickly lead to a dead end. When you play the quantity game you have to double the number of images you have for sale, to double your income.

 
You have 1,000 images for sale. If you work very hard In a year you could have 2,000.  2,000 should double the paltry income from your 1,000 images. If you have 15,000 images for sale and you work very hard for a year, you would have 16,000 images for sale.
 
16,000 images for sale will make very little income difference over 15,000. You have hit a plateau. It is a geometric progression that makes advancement easy at first, but soon impossible.
 
This is not a new idea. There is a fable dealing with this effect recorded in 1256. Read about it here:
 
 
The only way to double your income when you have 15,000 images would be to add 1,000 spectacular images that will have a 15 times higher return per image than the less spectacular group of 15,000 images.
 
This is why shooting very high quality images is the best long term strategy. Forget about quantity. Take your time and shoot better images than your competition.
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Do our individual Alamy collections eventually reach a "critical mass" -- i.e. a point where adding more images will no longer increase income and may even trigger financial meltdown?

 

Any thoughts on this?

I know what you mean John. It just doesn't seem to matter how much I add to my collection, my number of sales a month stays about the same while the revenue continues to slide. Sort of like trying to make a mountain out of mud.

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Do our individual Alamy collections eventually reach a "critical mass" -- i.e. a point where adding more images will no longer increase income and may even trigger financial meltdown?

 

Any thoughts on this?

I know what you mean John. It just doesn't seem to matter how much I add to my collection, my number of sales a month stays about the same while the revenue continues to slide. Sort of like trying to make a mountain out of mud.

 

 

Ditto. I just hope there won't be a mudslide .

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You must surely also add to this  a "critical mass" aligned to the income required

If you only want a few pence per year the "critical mass" could be just 100 images ................ or am I missing something?

 

True, it's all relative -- i.e. everyone's situation is different. Personally, I find that my "required income" has been sliding steadily despite regularly adding images. Will this situation improve even if I keep adding new work (which I will do anyway since I still enjoy photography for its own sake)? I'm not so sure that it will. In fact, if I stopped uploading pictures altogether at this point, I'm not sure that my income would change significantly. Would a complete change in direction help? I'm not so certain about that either. Mysterious statistical forces -- which I don't pretend to understand -- seem to be at work here.

 

BTW, pence don't go very far on this side of the Atlantic. B)

 

 

John

 

A fair reply.

 

As to required income I should quote a business (none photographer writer) colleague 'If I put the same amount of effort and work into this 10 years ago I would have earned £100; but today I make £20’.   There is no doubt making a fair penny is now harder work than a decade ago.

 

Will this situation improve even if I keep adding new work (in this case Alamy) - No grantee but it does move the odds in your favour, but what is the cost of adding more?  Will it generate a profitable return in the intended time frame?

 

A change of direction you ask - that is to diversify - the key element of business; identify trends, look at the profit potential and be the first to do so and then to make a profit from it and then the first to get out and move on to something new repeating the whole cycle .............. Which is where I am today!

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Do our individual Alamy collections eventually reach a "critical mass" -- i.e. a point where adding more images will no longer increase income and may even trigger financial meltdown?

 

Any thoughts on this?

 

As mentioned, it's very difficult not to start competing against yourself as you add more, especially when you think in terms of adding to the same keyword searches. You also tend to be spending more money to achieve those 'new' images, after all most people are adding 'more expensive to take' shots... the easy to find, low lying fruit has long been picked.

 

I suspect most people, if they did a proper cost analysis, would find that adding new images here is actually costing them money. In the wider market there are better correlations between adding images/adding income but it's far less secure than four or five years ago and certainly nothing like it was in the last century.

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My first 33 sales, starting in Feb. of 2008, add up to $3535.02, an average of $107.12 per image. This was with a port of under 2000 images. Ranging from $27.00 to $270.00.

 

My last 33 sales add up to $1677.88, an average of $50.84 per image. With over 4000 images. Sale prices ranging from $2.49 to $157.99.

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My first 33 sales, starting in Feb. of 2008, add up to $3535.02, an average of $107.12 per image. This was with a port of under 2000 images. Ranging from $27.00 to $270.00.

 

My last 33 sales add up to $1677.88, an average of $50.84 per image. With over 4000 images. Sale prices ranging from $2.49 to $157.99.

 

 

Stop uploading more pictures. B)

 

Allan

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Playing the quantity game will quickly lead to a dead end. When you play the quantity game you have to double the number of images you have for sale, to double your income.

 
You have 1,000 images for sale. If you work very hard In a year you could have 2,000.  2,000 should double the paltry income from your 1,000 images. If you have 15,000 images for sale and you work very hard for a year, you would have 16,000 images for sale.
 
16,000 images for sale will make very little income difference over 15,000. You have hit a plateau. It is a geometric progression that makes advancement easy at first, but soon impossible.
 
This is not a new idea. There is a fable dealing with this effect recorded in 1256. Read about it here:
 
 
The only way to double your income when you have 15,000 images would be to add 1,000 spectacular images that will have a 15 times higher return per image than the less spectacular group of 15,000 images.
 
This is why shooting very high quality images is the best long term strategy. Forget about quantity. Take your time and shoot better images than your competition.

 

 

 

This would seem like a lesson for the agencies rather than for us - loved the chess story - exponential growth can't go on forever ...

 

There is a point where you, as an individual contributor, plateau - I haven't gotten there yet - but I guess it depends on your output.  At some point those 1000 new images a year instead of doubling your portfolio are now just increasing it by an ever smaller fraction. The goal to increase the quality of your work rather than the quality seems like the best strategy. I find both old and new work sell but I've been revisiting the kinds of images and places that are my best-sellers and finding that freshening those up means new sales as well as my old images getting seen when a client sees more by this contributor. I do think there is some sweet spot that includes both quality and quality. I think when I hit 500-600 photos was when I started averaging one sale a month, but the next year I had an average of two a month (and I still haven't hit 1200 yet so I'm really far from that plateau); the year after that average sales per month were somewhere in between but net income continued to rise, so better quality may mean better sales, though the dilution by the agency's mind-boggling growth is going to counter-balance individual efforts. I just keep plugging along, trying to analyze what shoots give me the most bang for my buck, and trying to get through my backlog of images as well.  

Edited by Marianne
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You really have to stand out from the crowd, especially in a crowd-sourced model which Alamy certainly is. Do not do what crowd does. Turn around and learn/invest in the shots that the crowd does not do. Any and all of: model-released, hard to access, contemporary styled... Think production values. If you keep telling yourself: I can not do that because of [insert your favorite excuse here], you'll never stand out of the crowd.

GI

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My first 33 sales, starting in Feb. of 2008, add up to $3535.02, an average of $107.12 per image. This was with a port of under 2000 images. Ranging from $27.00 to $270.00.

 

My last 33 sales add up to $1677.88, an average of $50.84 per image. With over 4000 images. Sale prices ranging from $2.49 to $157.99.

 

I'm no economist (understatement), but this sounds suspiciously like the "law of diminishing returns" or something like it:

 

"The law of diminishing returns is an economic principle stating that as investment [i.e. submitting images] in a particular area increases, the rate of profit from that investment, after a certain point, cannot continue to increase if other variables remain at a constant [images prices actually falling]. As investment continues [uploading more images] past that point, the return diminishes progressively."

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The challenge is to look at what is/has happened from a cool business perspective and react accordingly.

 

It's often human nature to look for a silver lining, look on the bright side of life.

 

https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy

 

This can influence our business decisions to the negative. Especially when there is an element of enjoyment/hobby in the work.

 

Quite so. If I didn't occasionally "stumble upon happiness" while making taking/making pictures, I doubt that I would bother.

 

Also, as I get older, I find that some things don't look quite as serious as they used to...

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